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Lately, I’ve become aware of an increase in the amount of kvetching that surrounds me. Whether online, in private conversation, or in public discourse, people seem eager to express their discontent with one thing or another. Rarely do I hear folks expressing an equal measure of praise or satisfaction for the bounty of people, places, or things that they encounter in their daily lives. Read more»

A nearly empty polling place in Chicago on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, voters across the United States cast their ballots in the 2014 midterm elections. As with any election, there are winners and losers. But, dear reader, this column offers neither post-election analysis nor after-the-fact second-guessing–well, at least, not in the well-worn, traditional sense. Instead, I want to use the occasion of Election Day to share an insight into the sad fundamentals of electoral democracy. Read more» 1

New citizens take the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at Saguaro National Park on Friday.

I have been challenged lately to think in surprising ways about the nature of our country’s shifting diversity. Despite spending nearly all my working hours buried in studies and analyses of the racial and ethnic demographic trends sweeping the nation, I’m not a know-it-all on the subject. Still, it takes quite a jolt for a list of facts or figures to stun me. Read more» 1

Even for the one in five students who fail to earn a diploma, hope abounds for the future. By listening carefully to those who have fallen along the way, we will hear what it takes to help at-risk students stay the course toward finishing high school. Read more»

What America’s pastime can teach us about what it takes to achieve the American Dream of equal opportunity. Read more»

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at a rally to protest the closure of Long Island College Hospital and Interfaith Medical Center.

In almost every discussion of race in this country—whether private conversations among friends and family or public debates between political antagonists—those engaged tend to talk past one another. Passions often displace reason; facts disappear like smoke in the wind, blown aside in the rhetoric of extreme beliefs. Read more»

Crowds surrounding the Reflecting Pool during the 1963 March on Washington.

Before the celebrations begin, complete with recitations of and debates over the layers of meaning to King’s colorblind dream, we might do well to review the full story behind the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. An understanding of what those brave marchers demanded a half-century ago can only lead to the conclusion that their work remains incomplete. Read more»

Christoph Waltz as Schultz and Jamie Foxx as Django in 'Django Unchained,' directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film centers on a slave trying to rescue his wife from a Mississippi plantation.

If it hadn’t have been for Spike Lee, I might have blissfully ignored "Django Unchained," the much-talked-about Quentin Tarantino movie about a revenge-minded slave set in pre-Civil War America. There's nothing like a race-based pop culture contretemps to provoke racial chatter. Read more»

I’m wondering if there’s a lesson for U.S. politicians and voters in the recently completed French presidential election? My head says “Non!” but my heart screams “Oui! Oui!” Read more»

Jeremy Lin

Many have succombed to Linsanity — the excitement surrounding New York Knicks player Jeremy Lin. Unfortunately, his celebrity carries a racial edge to it. Read more»

With a waggle of her right index finger last Wednesday, Gov. Jan Brewer erased the question of whether black voters will be enthusiastic about going to the polls in support of President Obama. Now, you can count on it. Read more» 2

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington D.C.

I plan to be among the thousands of people who will celebrate Sunday's dedication of the national memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. And how could I avoid it? It's taking place in my adopted hometown and on my birthday. Read more»

Demonstrators at an immigration reform rally in Washington, D.C., last year.

In a move contrary to the most cherished of American values, a band of ultraconservative activists are targeting the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants—and others—to score political points. Their stated objective is to overturn a bedrock constitutional right: the right of citizenship by birth on American soil. Read more»

Sign at a Greyhound bus station in Rome, GA.

I’m often taken aback when I hear someone complain that racial conditions in the United States haven’t changed much—or are worse—than at some point in the nation’s past. Anyone who says something so observably false either doesn’t know or fails to respect the progressive march of history. Read more» 1

National Public Radio's headquarters on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Having migrated from the world of mainstream media to one of progressive policy study, it might come as something of a shock to learn that I agree with right-wing attacks on federal support for National Public Radio. Read more»

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